At first I was reluctant to attend this year’s commencement exercises being that this was my second degree from Northern Kentucky University. Nonetheless, I figured since I had earned the degree and put in a great deal of hard work I might as well go and be recognized, if only for a microsecond, for my accomplishments.
The commencement ceremony itself was very nice and it was obvious that many people put in a lot of hard work to make the event a success. However, I was extremely disappointed and disgusted by the keynote speaker, Helen Thomas. I expect a keynote address to provide words of encouragement, seeds of hope for the future and maybe even advice for success for the graduates in attendance. Ms. Thomas’ address, however, provided none of the above.
I was not surprised at all that NKU would select a politically liberal speaker; that is par for the course with this university. However, regardless of the speaker’s political or social opinions, the arena at the commencement ceremony was not appropriate to push those opinions on those in attendance. Obvious attacks against our President, our troops and our international policies left many with a sour taste and turned what was supposed to be a motivational speech into a divisive and offensive display. As the crowd began to boo the speaker, I realized I was not alone in feeling this way.
I am truly disappointed that my graduation from NKU was tainted by this speaker’s distasteful choice of words. I sincerely hope that NKU seriously considers future prospects for keynote speakers and elects for individuals with less of a political agenda and more words of wisdom and encouragement.